The field of developmental science, sometimes called human development or lifespan development, examines the ways that humans change and remain the same throughout their lives. Its major areas of focus include growth, biological processes, cognitive and emotional maturation, personality and morality, psychosocial functioning, and interpersonal relationships.
Development studies tackle global challenges like poverty, inequality, health, climate change, technology, conflict and sustainable development. It transcends the traditional boundaries between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, between ‘North’ and ‘South’, by working across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, tackling global problems in Brighton as well as Bamako or Bogotá.
The development of a person or society is highly culturally bound. Understanding this is crucial when studying development, as different cultures have very different ideas about what development looks like and how it progresses. For this reason, many of the theories about development are difficult to apply to other cultures. However, the study of culture is a growing and developing field in its own right and offers an important new perspective on how we can understand development across cultures.